While India now brags about not caring if it’s a baby boy or baby girl, the reality seems to be an anti-parallel. The fight to get rights for the LGBT (Lesbian,Gay,Bisexual,Transgender) community rages on but it seems like a far away dream considering the fact that we don’t understand gender at all.


This is something I read in Humans of New York some time back.

I remember taking an anthropology class in college and the professor was explaining that there is little sexual dimorphism in humans. He meant that there are few outward,observable differences between males and females.At that time I was confused,so I raised my hand. ‘I feel like it’s very easy to tell a man and woman apart.’, I said.

‘That’s due to culture.’, he answered.

Really though, If you think about the outward appearance of a XY(male) and XX(female) human, you will find not more than 2-3 differences at maximum. Those too may vary;becoming less, but never more.


It all starts with a room. Pink if it’s a girl. Blue if it’s a boy. Then the toys; a kitchen set for a girl and hot wheels for a boy. A jewelry making set for a girl and a football for a boy. Girls have a nice handwriting. Girls are good at art, more meticulous, more organised. Boys are more logical.

Why do we still hear these things despite there being evidences against the same?


Why is it so important for us for a man and woman to look a certain way?

In this article I want to particularly stress and highlight upon two of the things we have been doing wrong when it comes to our annual shows in school/colleges.

The taller you are, the closer you become to looking like a man.

In a dance, whenever there is a deficit of boys, the taller girl becomes a boy and the shorter girl becomes a girl. This would seem appropriate if you were dancing to a song in the Stone age era where men used to be taller considering their role in the society.

Our childhood revolves around Complan, Bournvita, Horlicks. We compete with each other as kids boasting about our heights but ,why does puberty hitting us send our brains into a frenzy? Suddenly being taller than a guy becomes an awkward thing for a girl.

If we think realistically, people come in different heights and it doesn’t seem right for someone tall to play a guy and someone short to play a girl when a class has ¬†short boys, short girls, tall boys and tall girls.

The girl becomes the boy but the boy never becomes the girl.

Being someone who has become a guy several times for a role in a play, I speak from my experience when I say this. I have never, ever, ever seen a guy become a girl for a role. As girls we don’t feel that embarrassed to look like a man as a guy would probably feel to look like a lady. No one teased me when I drew a mustache on my face to play a man but If a guy puts on some lipstick or make up for his role even as a man he will get teased endlessly. It doesn’t seem like a big deal when it is taking place but if you really think about it, What message are we sending out? Is looking like a girl (even when it is just pretense) something to be embarrassed about? What is wrong with looking like a girl? It doesn’t change your gender. It does not change your identity.


The topic of gender, seems like a very small problem when you look at all the problems in the world. However, these are the problems which we don’t seem to notice that get filtered down into the thoughts of people. What we think of our gender and our sexuality becomes a part of our identity, something that is the very basis of our thoughts and existence.


What we must start realizing is that the world is changing. Everyday men and women both break barriers. Barriers that were set for their genders.

‘You can’t do that. Only a guy does that.’

‘What are you doing? Are you a girl?’

Let us stop using phrases like these.

We, as the developed human beings that we are, need to break beyond the shackles of stereotypical gender roles and develop skill sets not according to our genitals but according to our needs and talents.

To achieve that, we must change the way we portray ideas related to gender and teach our kids that sex is not a bar to take up a hobby that the opposite sex mostly engages in.

It is okay to look like the opposite gender. You are not what you look like. You are what you decide to become.









In the summer of ’92, I was working at Colaba. Nothing major really. I had very few job opportunities as I was really young. Raw age of 19, hair tied back in a bun with strands hanging out loose, an old worn out jeans that I’d been wearing for a year and half and a cheap T shirt I picked up at FS.

My house being in Mulund, I had to load myself in a train to CST station every morning. Being squished in the ladies compartment, wow.

The train back home was empty. When I say empty, it was me, and a few other girls. Every night while returning I used to sit near the window with my legs on the seat opposite to me and eat lifeless take out food.

Razia, a little girl used to sit beside me and tell me all about her day. Her ‘ammi’ sold fruits around the corner of a street at Fort( Mumbai). Razia complained that her ammi never really liked her. Razia was the child of Ahaan’s first wife. Razia did all that she could to be accepted by her ammi. Little girls often do that. Hide a crippling need of approval.
She would do everything and anything for a smile on her ammi’s face.

Sometimes I got ‘Coffee Bite’ chocolates for Razia. She liked them. The bitter sweet taste left the brightest smile on her face.

All of a sudden she stopped coming. Never saw her again.

It was two and a half weeks later that I enquired about her around CST station. She had suddenly gone missing.

I wasn’t so sure about asking the authorities around. What do they know about people on the stations who pick plastic bottles and leftover samosas. I asked this old chap, they called him ‘battery’. He was a joke around the station. He had been working as a cleaner over there for over 60 years.

Battery ko malum hoyega.

That’s what they said about him. He knew every little shit that went around the place. When I asked him about Razia he said there was no Razia. I asked him if he was sure. He was affirmative. He was old. I thought maybe he is forgetting things but what he said after that was unbelievable.

He said there was a little girl 26 years back named Razia. Fair complexion and brown hair unlike her mother’s. Used to go around the station picking up random plastic objects while her mother sold fruits somewhere around the area. One day her mother pushed her out of the moving train. Finally she had made her ammi happy.